Cave Photography: What Does It Take to Get the Shot?

Photographers are known to go to extremes to get the shot. Sometimes those extremes are much further than others. Take Chris Higgins, for example. The professional caving photographer crawls his way through dark caves and slithers through cave opening so small it seems impossible for a human to fit through them. In the video below, the photographer takes us underground during one of his shoots:

Aside from the potential for danger, caving can also be very wet, dirty, and muddy, which can wreak havoc on sensitive camera equipment. By the looks of the cavers’ speedlights and cameras, they take a lot of abuse. Yet another reason cave photography isn’t for the faint of heart.


What most people don’t realize about cave photography, Higgins says, is just how much goes into it. Since the caves are all underground, all lighting has to be carried in. Sometimes you are photographing rooms that are the size of a football field. That’s takes a lot of lighting. Higgins says it’s not uncommon for it to take 20 hours to take just one photo.


Higgins’ main camera is a Nikon D7000 with which he uses a Sigma 10-20mm lens. He prefers the Sigma because it’s affordable and he loses a lot of lenses to water damage. He also packs at least 4 or 5 GorillaPods to hold his speedlights.

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